December 9, 2014
To some extent, I think that some of us do some form of collecting – whether that's something as traditional as stamps to everyday consumer goods like shoes. When I was younger, I used to collect anything and everything – from stamps and coins, to Beanie Babies and Pokemon cards; unfortunately, this habit hasn't passed into adulthood. It seems, though, that there's a huge opportunity for this market, and Cincinnati, OH-based CompleteSet has created a platform to support people in their pursuit of completing their collections.
“I started collecting Star Wars memorabilia when I was 10 years old. I attended toy shows and dug through store shelves hunting for the items I didn't have yet. What started as a collection of just 1 action figure grew to include more than 1000 pieces of memorabilia spanning 37 years,” said CompleteSet cofounder Gary Darna. “As a member of several collector-centric Facebook Groups, I saw thousands of collectors forming communities around the things they love. CompleteSet was inspired by a lifetime of collecting and the millions of people who share my passion for the hobby.”
CompleteSet offers a website that aims to build a catalog and marketplace for every and any kind of collectible item on the market. Users sign up on the site for free. From there, they input their own line of products in their respective collections – contributing to CompleteSet's catalog of collective goods. The platform also allows collectors to buy and sell those collectible items – serving as an alternative to the kinds of transactions currently taking place elsewhere (mainly: eBay). According to Darna, there is a huge gap in the collectibles market, but no solutions to help fill in those disconnects.
“Although the Internet has made collecting easier by making products more attainable, it has also created a frustrated chore as a result. Collectors are forced to scour the Internet on social media, auction sites and message boards looking for the things they want to own. Smartphones have only exacerbated this. They use Facebook Groups to discuss collectibles; eBay to buy and sell; and a long list of blogs and podcasts to stay informed about their favorite brands. In many cases, collectors are still relying on makeshift solutions like Excel spreadsheets and printed price guides to catalog their collections, if they keep track of it at all. Collecting can often feel more like a job than a pastime with all of the products and services required to be an avid collector.”
Founded in 2012 and a member of startup accelerator Cintrifuse, CompleteSet currently has members from 34 countries and has a catalog of more than 100,000 collectible items in their archives, including items from the popular Marvel, Nintendo, and Star Wars universes. Most recently the company closed a $650,000 in an oversubscribed seed round at the beginning of this month led by Chrysalis Ventures cofounder Doug Cobb. With the financing, CompleteSet hopes to grow their team from 5 employees to 12, as well as to support their efforts in product development and marketing.
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